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Naskh – Abrogation in the Quran (2)

تاريخ الاعداد: 7/3/2024 تاريخ النشر: 7/4/2024
440
التحميل

Haidar Hobbollah

 

Transcripted and translated by Sayyid Ali Imran

 

This is a transcription from lesson 3 of the Uṣūl lessons of Shaykh Haider Hobbollah on the topic of Naskh al-Quran, delivered in fall of 2022.

 

We will start our discussion with an analysis of the jargon used in this topic. It requires patience on part of the student, because although the discussion can get a bit dry, it is of utmost importance. The importance of the linguistic discussion on the word naskh can possibly help us with understanding the jargon definition of naskh.

Farāhīdī1 says:

نسخ: النَّسْخُ والانتساخُ: اكتتابك في كتابٍ عن معارضه. والنَّسْخُ: إزالتك أمراً كان يعمل به، ثم تَنْسَخُهُ بحادثٍ غيره، كالآية تنزل في أمر، ثم يخفف فتُنْسَخُ بأخرى، فالأولى منسوخة

In summary, he says naskh is simply writing a text, copying it from one manuscript to another. He also says, naskh means to negate a matter that you initially acted upon, but was negated due to some later incident or event, and he cites Quranic abrogation as an example of the latter. According to Farāhidī there is no conflict between these two meanings (unlike what some later scholars will say).

Ibn ‘Abbād in his al-Muḥīṭ2 says:

النسخ معروف، نسخت الكتب أنسخه. والنسخ أن تزيل أمراً كان من قبل يعمل به. وتناسخ الورثة أن تموت ورثة بعد ورثة. وذهب دمه نسخة أي باطلاً. وبلدة نسيخة ونسخية للبعيدة. ونسخه الله قرداً أي مسخه.

Naskh is “well-known”, but he is referring to the process of writing and copying books. He also says naskh is the negation of a matter that one acted upon initially. He adds one example which is relevant for us, he says “His blood was spilled, invalidly,” and uses naskh in the meaning of invalidating. This will be an issue for some scholars because they will say it is not right to say Allah (swt) “invalidated” or made “bāṭil” some part of the Quran. Of course, we could response to these critics by saying invalidity is simply referring to the second meaning, which is to negate, not that the initial verse was falsified.

Jawharī in his al-Ṣiḥāḥ3 writes:

نَسَخَتِ الشمسُ الظلّ و انْتَسَخَتْهُ: أزالتْه. و نَسَخَتِ الريحُ آثَارَ الدارِ: غَيَّرْتها. و نَسَخْتُ الكتاب، و انْتَسَخْتُهُ، و استنسختهُ كلُّه بمعنَى. و النُّسْخَةُ بالضم: اسمُ المُنْتَسَخِ منه. و نَسْخُ الآيةِ بالآيةِ: إزالة مثلِ حكْمها، فالثانية نَاسِخَةٌ و الأولى منسوخةٌ. و التَّناسُخُ فى الميراث: أن يموت ورثةٌ بعد ورثةٍ و أصل الميراث قائمٌ لم يقسَّمْ.

Ibn Fāris in his al-Mu‘jam4 writes:

(نَسَخَ) النُّونُ وَالسِّينُ وَالْخَاءُ أَصْلٌ وَاحِدٌ، إِلَّا أَنَّهُ مُخْتَلَفٌ فِي قِيَاسِهِ. قَالَ قَوْمٌ: قِيَاسُهُ رَفْعُ شَيْءٍ وَإِثْبَاتُ غَيْرِهِ مَكَانَهُ. وَقَالَ آخَرُونَ: قِيَاسُهُ تَحْوِيلُ شَيْءٍ إِلَى شَيْءٍ. قَالُوا: النَّسْخُ: نَسْخُ الْكِتَابِ. وَالنَّسْخُ: أَمْرٌ كَانَ يُعْمَلُ بِهِ مِنْ قَبْلُ ثُمَّ يُنْسَخُ بِحَادِثٍ غَيْرِهِ، كَالْآيَةِ يَنْزِلُ فِيهَا أَمْرٌ ثُمَّ تُنْسَخُ بِآيَةٍ أُخْرَى. وَكُلُّ شَيْءٍ خَلَفَ شَيْئًا فَقَدِ انْتَسَخَهُ. وَانْتَسَخَتِ الشَّمْسُ الظِّلَّ، وَالشَّيْبُ الشَّبَابَ. وَتَنَاسُخُ الْوَرَثَةِ: أَنْ يَمُوتَ وَرَثَةٌ بَعْدَ وَرَثَةٍ وَأَصْلُ الْإِرْثِ قَائِمٌ لَمْ يُقَسَّمْ وَمِنْهُ تَنَاسُخُ الْأَزْمِنَةِ وَالْقُرُونِ. قَالَ السِّجِسْتَانِيُّ النَّسْخُ: أَنْ تُحَوِّلَ مَا فِي الْخَلِيَّةِ مِنَ الْعَسَلِ وَالنَّحْلِ فِي أُخْرَى. قَالَ: وَمِنْهُ نَسْخُ الْكِتَابِ

Ibn Fāris indicates that the word naskh has one single meaning, but says there is a difference of opinion on what that one single meaning is amongst experts. Some say it means to remove one thing and put another thing in its exact place, while others say it is to change one thing into another thing.

As one can see, the concept of naskh is slowly getting more unclear, and when we go over the opinions of the Uṣūlīs, it will become an even more complex and ambiguous concept. The seminarians will realize this is similar to as if we were studying Bidāyah al-Ḥikmah of ‘Allāmah Ṭabāṭabā’ī and discussing the concept of wujūd (existence) which should be the clearest concept for anyone, but after a few lessons it becomes one of the most complicated concepts to get a picture of.

Rāghib Isfahānī in his al-Mufradāt5 writes:

النَّسْخُ: إزالةُ شَيْءٍ بِشَيْءٍ يَتَعَقَّبُهُ، كنَسْخِ الشَّمْسِ الظِّلَّ، والظِّلِّ الشمسَ، والشَّيْبِ الشَّبَابَ. فَتَارَةً يُفْهَمُ منه الإزالة، وتَارَةً يُفْهَمُ منه الإثباتُ، وتَارَةً يُفْهَم منه الأَمْرَانِ. ونَسْخُ الكتاب: إزالة الحُكْمِ بحكم يَتَعَقَّبُهُ. قال تعالى: ما نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِها نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْها [البقرة/ 106] قيل: معناه ما نُزيل العملَ بها، أو نحْذِفها عن قلوبِ العباد، وقيل: معناه:

ما نُوجِده وننزِّله. من قولهم: نَسَخْتُ الكتابَ، وما نَنْسأُه. أي: نُؤَخِّرُهُ فلَمْ نُنَزِّلْهُ، فَيَنْسَخُ اللَّهُ ما يُلْقِي الشَّيْطانُ

[الحج/ 52] . وَنَسْخُ الكتابِ: نَقْلُ صُورته المجرَّدة إلى كتابٍ آخرَ، وذلك لا يقتضي إزالةَ الصُّورَةِ الأُولى بل يقتضي إثباتَ مثلها في مادَّةٍ أُخْرَى، كاتِّخَاذِ نَقْشِ الخَاتم في شُمُوعٍ كثيرة

Rāghib seems to imply it does not just mean to remove or negate something, rather it means to create something, such as what is done when you copy a book.

Al-Ḥimyari in his Shams al-‘Ulūm7 writes:

نسخ: نَسَخَ الشيءَ ينسَخُه نَسْخاً وانتسَخَه واستنسَخَه: اكْتَتَبَهُ عَنْ مَعَارِضِهِ. التَّهْذِيبُ: النَّسْخ اكْتِتَابُكَ كِتَابًا عَنْ كِتَابٍ حَرْفًا بِحَرْفٍ، والأَصل نُسخةٌ، وَالْمَكْتُوبُ عَنْهُ نُسخة لأَنه قَامَ مَقَامَهُ، وَالْكَاتِبُ نَاسِخٌ وَمُنْتَسِخٌ. وَالِاسْتِنْسَاخُ: كَتْبُ كِتَابٍ مِنْ كِتَابٍ؛ وَفِي التَّنْزِيلِ: إِنَّا كُنَّا نَسْتَنْسِخُ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ؛ أَي نَسْتَنْسِخُ مَا تَكْتُبُ الْحَفَظَةُ فَيَثْبُتُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ؛ وَفِي التَّهْذِيبِ: أَي نأْمر بِنَسْخِهِ وإِثباته. والنَّسْخ: إِبطال الشَّيْءِ وإِقامة آخَرَ مَقَامَهُ؛ وَفِي التَّنْزِيلِ: مَا نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِها نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْها أَوْ مِثْلِها؛ وَالْآيَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ نَاسِخَةٌ والأُولى مَنْسُوخَةٌ. وقرأَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَامِرٍ: مَا نُنسخ، بِضَمِّ النُّونِ، يَعْنِي مَا نَنْسَخُكَ مِنْ آيَةٍ، والقراءَة هِيَ الأُولى. ابْنُ الأَعرابي: النَّسْخُ تَبْدِيلُ الشَّيْءِ مِنَ الشَّيْءِ وَهُوَ غَيْرُهُ، ونَسْخ الْآيَةِ بِالْآيَةِ: إِزالة مِثْلَ حُكْمِهَا. وَالنَّسْخُ: نَقْلُ الشَّيْءِ مِنْ مَكَانٍ إِلى مَكَانٍ وَهُوَ هُوَ؛ قَالَ أَبو عَمْرٍو: حَضَرْتُ أَبا الْعَبَّاسِ يَوْمًا فَجَاءَ رَجُلٌ مَعَهُ كِتَابُ الصَّلَاةِ فِي سَطْرٍ حُرٍّ وَالسَّطْرُ الْآخَرُ بَيَاضٌ، فَقَالَ لِثَعْلَبٍ: إِذا حَوَّلْتَ هَذَا الْكِتَابَ إِلى الْجَانِبِ الْآخَرِ أَيهما كِتَابُ الصَّلَاةِ؟ فَقَالَ ثَعْلَبٌ: كِلَاهُمَا جَمِيعًا كِتَابُ الصَّلَاةِ، لَا هَذَا أَولى بِهِ مِنْ هَذَا وَلَا هَذَا أَولى بِهِ مِنْ هَذَا. الْفَرَّاءُ وأَبو سَعِيدٍ: مَسَخه اللَّهُ قِرْدًا وَنَسَخَهُ قِرْدًا بِمَعْنًى وَاحِدٍ. وَنَسَخَ الشَّيْءَ بِالشَّيْءِ ينسَخه وَانْتَسَخَهُ: أَزاله بِهِ وأَداله؛ وَالشَّيْءُ يَنْسَخُ الشَّيْءَ نَسْخاً أَي يُزِيلُهُ وَيَكُونُ مَكَانَهُ. اللَّيْثُ: النسْخ أَن تُزَايِلَ أَمراً كَانَ مِنْ قبلُ يُعْمَل بِهِ ثُمَّ تَنْسَخُهُ بِحَادِثِ غَيْرِهِ. الْفَرَّاءُ: النَّسْخُ أَن تَعْمَلَ بِالْآيَةِ ثُمَّ تَنْزِلَ آيَةٌ أُخرى فَتَعْمَلَ بِهَا وَتَتْرُكَ الأُولى. والأَشياء تَناسَخ: تَداوَل فَيَكُونُ بَعْضُهَا مَكَانَ بَعْضٍ كالدوَل والمُلْك؛ وَفِي الْحَدِيثِ:

لَمْ تَكُنْ نبوّةٌ إِلَّا تَناسَخَت

أَي تَحَوَّلَتْ مِنْ حَالٍ إِلى حَالٍ؛ يَعْنِي أَمر الأُمة وَتَغَايُرَ أَحْوَالِهَا وَالْعَرَبُ تَقُولُ: نسَخَت الشمسُ الظِّلَّ وَانْتَسَخَتْهُ أَزالته، وَالْمَعْنَى أَذهبت الظِّلَّ وَحَلَّتْ مَحَلَّهُ؛ قَالَ الْعَجَّاجُ:

إِذا الأَعادي حَسَبونا، نَخْنَخوا … بالحَدْرِ والقَبْضِ الذي لا يُنْسَخ أَي لَا يَحُول. ونسَخَت الرِّيحُ آثَارَ الدِّيَارِ: غَيَّرَتْهَا. والنُّسخة، بِالضَّمِّ: أَصل الْمُنْتَسَخِ مِنْهُ. وَالتَّنَاسُخُ فِي الْفَرَائِضِ وَالْمِيرَاثِ: أَن تَمُوتَ وَرَثَةٌ بَعْدَ وَرَثَةٍ وأَصل الْمِيرَاثِ قَائِمٌ لَمْ يُقَسَّمْ، وَكَذَلِكَ تَنَاسُخُ الأَزمنة وَالْقَرْنِ بَعْدَ القرن.

Fayyūmī, Ṭurayḥī and other lexicographers essentially write similar things. What we find by collecting their words is that naskh is closely related to concepts like invalidating, negating, change, replacing, and copying. The last lexicographer we want to look at is ‘Allāmah Muṣṭafawī8 who in his general style researchers into the essence of the word. He says naskh does not means change, copying, replacing or negating. Instead, he gives a very unique meaning:

أنّ الأصل الواحد في المادّة: هو إخراج شي‌ء عن مقام الاقتضاء و النفوذ و القوّة، بخروجه عن مرحلة القوّة و الاقتضاء في نفسه أو بعوارض اخر، و ليس بمعنى إزالة شي‌ء، و لا تحويله الى شي‌ء آخر، و لا تعقّب شي‌ء يخلف عنه. فيلاحظ في النسخ: مجرّد سلب الاعتبار و الاقتضاء و القوّة عن شي‌ء

Muṣṭafawī says it is the removal of a thing from its initial status, power, or strength and what its existence necessitated, to a state where it loses that strength and power, either in its own essence or through other external reasons. It does not mean the removal or change of one thing to another. He says the criterion in the word naskh is the negation of the reliability and strength of a thing. If it just so happens that a thing also is negated, copied from place to another, or changes, then these are merely secondary consequences of the weakening of that thing.

He then cites various examples of verses, narrations and Arabic sentences where the word naskh is used and explains their meaning using his own opinion. For example, naskh in law – according to Muṣṭafawī – means an original law has lost its reliability and strength, or naskh which exists in different times and place means in every era there are rules and customs that lose their strength and reliability.

و يدلّ على أنّ النسخ ليس بازالة: بقاء الأحكام المنسوخة في نفسها في متن الواقع و في ظرفها، و هكذا في المقرّرّات العرفيّة و غيرها، و إنّما المنسوخة منها القوّة و الاعتبار و النفوذ.

He says naskh does not mean the absolute removal of a thing, because the rules that are abrogated remain and continue to exist in reality as long as those contextual circumstances continue to exist too.

These are the opinions of some of the major scholars of language from the classical and contemporary period. We can summarize their opinions as follows:

1) Izālah: Removing of something, but sometimes it is a complete negation and absence of something (when the wind blows something away), while other times it means a thing is removed but replaced with something else (when the sun passes the zenith, the coolness of the day is replaced with warmth).

2) Taḥwīl: To convert one thing to another.

3) Taghyīr: To change or modify something into another thing.

4) Tabdīl: To replace one thing with another.

5) Naql: To transfer or transmit, but in the discussion of naskh it is used for copying books.

6) Raf‘: Literally means to raise, but it seems they meant the first meaning which is izālah. Some scholars suggested another opinion too which we will see later.

7) Ibṭāl: To invalidate or falsify something. It was this meaning which led some scholars to raise theological issues because they said how could Allah (swt) reveal a verse and then falsify it?

8) Ikhrāj: This was the meaning proposed by ‘Allāmah Muṣṭafawī.

We will have to determine what is the real literal meaning of the word naskh and which of these are metaphorical.

In this lesson, we have discussed the opinions of the lexicographers, but what have the jurists and legal theorists said about this topic? Both groups of scholars have discussed the matter in greater depth and before we get into their opinions in detail, we can say that you will find two trends:

1) A camp which says the word naskh has been coined for two different meanings in the literal sense: Naql and Izālah; some like Muḥaqqiq Ḥillī (d. 676/1277) in his Ma‘ārij al-Uṣūl says Taghyīr and Izālah but it seems he meant the same thing as what the majority were saying.

Qāḍī Abu Bakr al-Baqillāni (d. 403/1013), Qāḍī ‘Abd al-Wahhāb al-Mālikī (d. 422/1031), Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazzālī in his al-Muṣtaṣfa, and Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbī (d. 741/1340) in his Tasḥīl li-‘Ulūm al-Tanzīl, all belong to this first camp.

2) A camp that says the word naskh has been coined for one word, and rest of the meanings are metaphorical.

In the second camp, we find two more sub-groups but we will discuss them in the next lesson onwards.

 

Footnotes

1.    https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/40660/4/201

2.    Vol. 1, pg. 349, https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/40672/1/349/

3.    Vol. 1, pg. 433, https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/86531/1/433

4.    Vol. 5, pg. 424, https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/40718/5/424

5.    https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/41892/1/801

6.     

7.    https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/71734/10/151[/note] writes:

النسخ : النقل ، ومنه نسخُ الكتاب.

والنسخ : الإِزالة ، ومنه نسخُ الحكم الذي كان ثابتاً بحكمٍ غيره ، كنسخِ الله تعالى الآية بالآية. قال تعالى : ( ما نَنْسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنْسِها نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْها )[١] قال ابن عباس : نَنْسَخْ أي نبدل ، وقالِ ابن مسعود : نَسْخُها إِثباتُ خطِّها وتبديلُ حكمها.

ويقال : النسخ في كتاب الله تعالى على ضربين نسخُ حكم ، ونسخ تلاوة.

ويقال : نسخت الشمسُ الظلَّ : أي أزالته وغيَّرتْه.

Ibn al-Athīr al-Jazarī in one of his remarks under a narration in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim which says:

لَمْ تَكُنْ نُبُوَّةٌ قَطُّ إلَّا تَنَاسَخَتْ

Prophethood does not remain forever and it is abrogated.

Al-Jazarī says naskh in this narration means change, but what does it mean in this narration’s context? He says change does not mean the essence of the prophethood change, rather it is speaking about the state of his followers and nation. Of course, this is an absurd explanation, especially when the narration clearly says prophethood – where did al-Jazarī get nation from?

Ibn Manẓūr in his Lisān al-‘Arab6https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/40707/3/61

8.    https://ar.lib.eshia.ir/71460/12/96